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September 22, 1995

Andre Agassi

Tom Gullikson


Q. How nervous were you, Andre, coming into your hometown and your father is looking over your shoulder - and a lot of pressure, I would think. Was it tough?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wasn't quite willing to admit it to myself, yeah, but I think when I got out there I found my nerves be to be a little bit more. Normally, I like to get aggressive early. Today I was second-guessing myself a little bit. I wanted to work myself into the match. I think what happened was as we had a lot of long rallies, he started getting a little bit more confidence and I started losing a little bit and then I don't think it was until I kind of got upset at myself and started hitting out on the ball that I have loosened up, but I think a good portion of that, which is playing here in Las Vegas. I think also another part is just, you know, the adjustment from a long summer to taking a week off to preparing again and the altitude, makes everybody a little bit tentative to hit the ball.

Q. What are the factors about playing here in Las Vegas? What are the things going on in your mind with all the factors?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, really, I try not to think about it much. I mean, when Davis Cup came here, I got excited about it and with the guys in town, it has nice been nice for me and to stay at home and play here at home, but, you know, I just try to stay focused inside the lines; make things happen out there and try to forget about the fact that it is Las Vegas and I would do good with that, except when I was on one side of the court; I would toss the ball and see Caesars Palace off in the distance, it was -- that was the only reminder when I was out there.

Q. Tom, you were up 2-0 against Sweden, but is there any picture in your mind that what could happen like last time?

TOM GULLIKSON: No, this is this time. Last time was last time. It is a whole new time and a whole new year and we are in Las Vegas playing it in front of the home fans, so last year is irrelevant.

Q. A lot more confidence with the team here this year?

TOM GULLIKSON: I am confident with all of our American players. Certainly, Andre and Pete are the best players in the world and playing the best tennis; I will take my chances against anybody, but we are always confident.

Q. Andre, after your altercation with the line judges you seemed to hit out a little more. Did that actually help you? Does that distract you at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'd kind of feel like there are times when getting upset on the court can hurt you and times when it can help and in this case, I felt like it helped me. I just I needed to loosen up. I needed to get a little angry with myself to start hitting out on my shots a little bit more, and it worked. I got a little upset and I managed to turn it into a good thing. I managed to get more aggressive and to keep going for my shots even though, you know, at times you feel a little tentative. I think that reflected towards the end of the tiebreaker on some crucial points.

Q. What must happen to have Wilander beat Sampras? Can you see it in any way happen?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, if there is no way for it to happen, they would just give us the result right now. They wouldn't play on Sunday, you know, but I got to say, I mean, it is difficult. It is a tough matchup for Mats. I mean, Mats is a great counter-puncher who moves well and can make a lot of balls, but Pete can be so overpowering and they haven't played since 1990. I think it is going to be quite surprising for Mats to see the kind of player that Pete is on the court.

Q. Tom, Pete was in here earlier talking about how good it makes him feel to have Tim here. What is it like to have your brother here this week?

TOM GULLIKSON: It has been a tough year for him and we are all happy he is here supporting the team and really means a lot to me. It is his first Davis Cup match and it is the first time, really, he has got a chance to get away from home and watch some tennis and have a relaxing weekend, so, you know, it is a big lift for me personally.

Q. Andre, could you describe your role in the Davis Cup coming to Las Vegas?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, I mean, we sit down; there is a lot more communication now between the USTA and the players, which is a step forward. We had some meetings with Les Snyder earlier on in Palermo asking about our thoughts for the next Davis Cup Tie. And I really felt like Las Vegas could be a great place for the Davis Cup because I believe that we can fill it up; crowd would be enthusiastic. They haven't had championship tennis here since 1984 or something, 1985 and I felt like they would treat it like an event and I just think every country in the world treats Davis Cup like a national sporting event except our country, and I real -- I am really proud of the way that Caesars has handled this Davis Cup and when I talked to Pete about my ideas, about it coming here - I first wanted to get the players to agree that it is something that they believe in; something that they can feel good about, and then we take it to the USTA and tell them; if it doesn't happen, we ain't playing. (LAUGHTER)

Q. Andre, did you feel, yourself, that you had the home-court advantage today? Did you feel like you were playing a little bit of a one-on-one in your backyard or is Caesars sort of farther away from where you have grown up?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wasn't around early enough to experience playing here in front of my home crowd back in Alan King days. I made the qualifying when I was 14 years old and then the tournament was no longer. So it was kind of strange for me. In ways I felt so close, you know, to everybody and in other ways it felt very strange, you know. I had to force myself to think about tennis and not that, you know, that blue sky that I have seen since I have been a kid. It is kind of a strange thing. It is also strange knowing some of the ball kids. I am about to call them by name. There is -- it is quite a different experience for me today. It was nice to -- it was nice for me to raise my level to the standard that I set for myself and to get a chance for my home to see me play that way.

Q. In a few years when you look back on your opponents, how would you remember Wilander?

ANDRE AGASSI: I will always remember Mats for the semifinal of the French Open when he beat me in five sets, over four hours of tennis. I will remember him for one of the greatest competitors that the sport has ever seen and I will remember him for accomplishing things that I still dream about doing.

Q. Andre, this is over -- are you going to have some time off to be able to reflect on it because I think there is -- much more is going to go happen than you have got now; wouldn't it be nice to be able to sit back and just bask in what you have done coming back to your hometown; it is most unusual?

ANDRE AGASSI: I sure hope so, Bud, I really do. I got to say in a lot of ways, I am very thankful for what I managed to accomplish; especially over this last summer because I have always questioned if I could week in and week out really show up and there is a price to be paid for that too. And the price is fatigue. The price is not being able to enjoy the moment; always looking forward to tomorrow and forgetting that there is still today to live, and, you know, and that is really kind of cutting me up personally more than I would care for it to. The week off was crucial to be home in this this kind of intense format; has been very special for that reason, but then after this is done, I have a few weeks off. I have got my, you know, my fund-raiser for my foundation for my big gala Grand Slam, a children's event next Saturday, and that is going to do me a lot of good. And I got -- got a little time. I am just hoping somewhere in there I can just take a step back and appreciate it and then look forward again because there is still more tennis to be played - that is one thing seems like you we always seem to be saying.

Q. Have you had a barrage of ticket requests for this weekend?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have made one very stern rule going into this week and that is that none of it would be something that I am aware of. I knew I was going to have a hard enough time concentrating on what I was doing as it was, so I just kind have had everything go through the office here in town and had my brother Philip and Perry and the whole staff there just deal with all the madness, whatever it was, to whatever degree. And I won't know until it is all done because we have got a job to do and just because I have the luxury of being at home, it doesn't take away from the responsibility or the intensity that is required when you are out there on the court.

Q. Can you tell us from your heart what your foundation means to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, there is a lot of things it means to me. It is a chance to give back to a community that has supported me for so long; chance to give back to children who go to sleep at night with no hope at all. It is a chance to make a better tomorrow for so many -- so many kids who really don't believe that they have that opportunity and, you know, to make a difference. It is --, you know, it is such a demanding thing to have a foundation, I have learned that the hard way. I have put a lot of work in over the last year, year and a half. By the same token, when it is all said and done, you somehow feel like it energized you, like somehow it "gave" to you, and, you know, as I was making phone calls to get the talent to perform on next Saturday, I think one of the things that surprised me the most is other peoples' willingness to help out a cause that they believe in, and, you know, I have always felt that way. I know a lot of other tennis players feel that way, but to really see it all come together and to see your efforts really, you know, we expect to raise $1.3 million net, clean, and to see that go straight to the kids; especially in a city that is growing as fast as Vegas is, you know, it is really going to make a difference: I really don't think anybody would be hard-pressed to understand what it must feel like to be able to ---to be a part of making the difference.

PAGE CROSLAND: Andre, how do people contribute?

ANDRE AGASSI: You can contribute by selling out Saturday night which I think we are going to, but also reaching Julia Walter who runs my foundation out of my office here in town for any kind of contributions or interest of any kind for any kind of support at Agassi Enterprises. It is listed here in town.

Q. What can we expect next with your hairdo?

ANDRE AGASSI: I am afraid pretty soon I am not going to have too many options, so I am just going to take it on day at a time here.

End of FastScripts....

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